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How To Deal With Quarter Life Crisis: First, Acknowledge It’s Real

“My twenties were supposed to be the greatest time of my life. By now I should be steadily building my career, readying myself for marriage and kids, and making the most of my life. But instead I’m stuck, unsure of where to go in terms of work, money, love, and everything in between.” Does any of this sound familiar to you? Well, dear Millennial, you might just be dealing with your quarter life crisis.

First thing’s first: dealing with your quarter life crisis means accepting what you’re feeling. According to The Guardian, 86% of Millennials will experience it: “a period of life ranging from mid-twenties to thirties, in which one feels doubtful of their own lives, brought about by the stress of adulthood.”

That means if you were born between 1987 and 1992, you’re probably feeling the brunt of it right about now. If you are, then drop your denial. Don’t try to drown out the noise in your head by screaming that everything is okay. If you can do that, then you can focus your efforts on the important stuff. By recognizing the source of the stress, you can make adjustments moving forward.

The Signs

It’s easy to imagine our twenties as the time where everything comes together. Years of movies, platitudes, and go-get-’em quotes on our Facebook feeds have conditioned us to think this way. (Once again: don’t deny this; whether we like it or not, our generation has slurped up these kinds of positive messages, while often ignoring the harsh realities of the world.)

So, when quarter life crisis hits, the signs may come in the form of failed expectations. You may feel like you’re being crushed by your debt, your unemployment, your haywire love life. You ask questions like, “When will life feel like its supposed to?” or “Am I ever going to feel like myself again?”

The best time to start was yesterday. The second best time is today. If there's something you've been wanting to do for a while, this weekend is an amazing opportunity to get started.

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And most of all, you look up people, maybe even friends, who seem like they’ve earned massive success at their age, people whose start-ups have taken off, or have gotten early  promotions in industries that they love. And then you feel really crummy by comparison… forgetting that those friends are a minority of people your age, and that social media is a highlight reel of your friends’ best moments, rather than their whole picture.

How To Power Through

Here are a few tips to help Millennials through this intense quarter life crisis:

One – and perhaps this is the most difficult thing to do – you have to recognize what you can offer the world. Understand what your inner voice is telling you to do, because in all likelihood, it will be what you can excel at. This is difficult because we spend most of our lives doing what others tell us to do – study a good course, get a good job, etcetera, etcetera.

It doesn’t mean you should ignore the bills to pay while splurge your savings on art materials, or travel. But the most successful people in life will tell you the same thing: their money stems from their passion, and not vice versa.

Secondly, tap into your resistance. Robert MacNaughton, CEO of Integral Center in Boulder, CO, credits his quarter life crisis with his redirection into success. He has this to say:

“Where your resistance and angst is highest, is your greatest dividend for your own development, and where you find why you’re here, and what’s gonna be your greatest service for the world’s need.”

In other words – fortune favors the bold. They say that what scares you and excites you simultaneously may be the thing worth trying.

Finally, recognize this fact: failing doesn’t make you a failure. You’ll be spending a huge portion of your twenties failing. But you’ll only be getting better as you do it.

Stay the course. You’re on the right path.

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